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Final Day of Competition at the Canadian Culinary Championships

As the saying goes, “if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

The heat was turned up to maximum for the last day of the Canadian Culinary Championships.

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow </who> B.C. Chef Alex Chen puts the finishing touches on his dish at the Black Box event.

Top chefs from across Canada brought their best to Kelowna Saturday for the final day of intense competition.

Saturday, the chefs competed in the Black Box event. Each chef and their sous chef were given a box of ingredients, the contents of which were kept secret until it was their turn to take over the kitchen.

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow </who> The Black Box event gives chefs only one hour to prepare a dish with mystery ingredients housed inside the box.

The mystery ingredients included ground elk, squid, peanuts, capers, salify, seaweed and lentils. The chefs then had 10 minutes to declare what they would cook and one hour to prepare the meal for the judges. Competitors also had access to a full pantry in order to complete their dish.

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow </who> The Black Box ingredients included ground elk, squid, peanuts, capers, salify, seaweed and lentils.

The competition kicked off at 8:00 a.m Saturday morning at Okanagan College. An eager, all ages crowd piled into the kitchen, many on the edge of their seats as they watched the chefs prepare a meal with ingredients meant to challenge their culinary skills.

11 chefs from across Canada were part of this year's competition. Representing B.C. was Vancouver based chef, Alex Chen. He was awarded the People’s Choice Award Friday evening.

<who> Photo Credit: KelownaNow </who> Ottawa Chef Marc Lepine finishes his dish for the Black Box Competition.

The 11 chefs did not know their ranking position before beginning Saturday’s competition. The kitchen was full of intensity and focus as each chef performed for a live crowd. Each participate had only one hour to prepare their dish. While the intensity was evident on the faces of the chef and sous chef, the competitors would often engage the crowd to find out how much time they had left on the clock.

The winner of the competition will be announced Saturday evening after the final competition. Chef’s will create their best dish for guest to sample, leading to the crowning of a new Canadian Champion Chef.